Friday, September 12, 2008

No Dessert Before Dinner

"Why did Sarah Palin let her daughter do that?" This was the question posed by my 9 year old daughter to me. She had seen the cover of a magazine about Palin which touted "coping with her teen daughter's pregnancy."

How do you explain to a very sheltered 9 year old about that subject? I shared with her something like this.

"Sarah Palin didn't let her daughter get pregnant. Imagine if you were hungry, but I told you you couldn't have a sweet treat. Not because I don't want the best for you, but because I don't want you to spoil your dinner. But I go upstairs. And you feel like you are starving. Would you eat the dessert anyway?" My daughter assured me she would not. That she would obey.

Chances are the dessert would be something wonderful, and something I had made just for her. Since I made the dessert for her, I want her to have it. I just want her to wait until after dinner. If you have the dessert first, dinner will not seem as appetizing. You may not even want the dinner at all. But if you wait, you will be blessed by a nutritious dinner and a wonderfully satisfying dessert.

I then explained that God told us to wait until after marriage before we did things to have a baby. Just like I don't want her to possibly spoil her dinner, God doesn't want us to possibly spoil the plans he has for our future. But you still have the choice to disobey. God made this special gift for us, but his desire is that we have marriage first, and then the "dessert."

God can turn all things to good and for his glory. But we do have consequences when we choose to disobey his Word. I am not judging Sarah Palin, nor her daughter. Not only do I have two young daughters who will be teens soon enough, but I was once a teen. I remember.

Dessert can seem so inviting, so delicious. The desire is there for just a "taste." But just as Eve tasted the fruit, a taste can lead to sin. It is better to come to the table hungry, and enjoy a truly satisfying meal first.

Hebrews 12:15-17 -- See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.

Psalm 34:8 -- Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

1 Corinthians 6:13 -- "Food for the stomach and the stomach for food"—but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

God Bless the USA - 9/11/08

In Memory of 9/11/01...

"Pray for those patriots - those modern-day minute men - who are always there to protect us. Pray for the men and women who serve as police officers, fire fighters, EMT's, nurses, and doctors. Pray for every single son and daughter on foreign and domestic soil serving in our armed forces.

And today, in this election year, turn politics aside for just a moment, and pray for those who are willing to take the mantle of national leadership. Pray for their families. Pray for their wisdom, integrity, and safety. Pray that they will seek the will of our God in heaven.

9-11 was a dark day for our nation. May we be beacons of God's light."
(Words of Rick Raines, Pastor of Fairmount Christian Chuch).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Which Way Do I Go?

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6

I've read many child rearing books. Monday I posted my author interview with my latest read, by Rebecca Ingram Powell. She offers a lot of great advice on the middle school years in her book Season of Change. I enjoyed her book and learned a lot.

The bible says "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." The problem is what if you don't know which way that is? Oh, yes, I know on the big things, the bible things. I know we should be talking about God all the time. I know they should love the Lord with all their heart and soul and mind, and love their neighbor as themselves. I know they should repent for their sins, and forgive others who sin against them.

But which preschool do you pick? How do you choose whether to home school, private or public educate? How much TV should they watch (this certainly isn't addressed in the bible!). Are video games okay? Should they be allowed to go on sleepovers?

Every decision seems painful. I visualize my child as an adult in therapy..."my mother was the only one who wouldn't let me have a Nintendo DS." How do you train a child in the way they should go...when you don't know which way to go?

I think the answer is indeed found in the bible. If it's not addressed in the bible, perhaps it really isn't as important as I think. TV and video games? Perhaps that falls in the all things in moderation category. Of course I need to make sure the content is appropriate. How about the school issue? Well, I think as long as you prayerfully make your decision any choice is okay. The real issue is are you teaching your child about Jesus.

I think as moms we need to give ourselves permission to fail. That's right, fail. We aren't perfect. We are sinners. We are going to screw up, lose our cool, make mistakes, and get it wrong. Like our kids, we need to be able to repent and forgive...ourselves! What a great learning experience for our kids, to learn by our mistakes. We can learn from our mistakes too.

Finally, remember 1 Peter 4:8. "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." Love your kids when they mess up. Just like our heavenly Father loves us when we do.

**Postscript: I just visited Rebecca's Place this morning, and her blog today completely and unintentionally has a great segway from my article. ("How will they know which way to go?") Must be a God thing. So to get some great insights from someone who is quickly becoming my "Mentor Mom" visit her blog.

Ephesians 6:1-4 ESV -- Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9 ESV -- You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

1 John 2:1 -- "My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

Monday, September 8, 2008

Season of Change: Author (R.I. Powell) Interview

Arguably, the two most daunting times of motherhood are the newborn baby stage and the middle school years. (Although the terrible two’s would get an honorable mention). Rebecca Ingram Powell’s first book, "Baby Boot Camp: Basic Training for the First Six Weeks of Motherhood" covered the new born stage. She has recently published her next parenting book called “Season of Change: Parenting Your Middle Schooler with Passion and Purpose.”

I have the honor of kicking off Rebecca’s blog book tour, and had the chance to interview her.

Rebecca Ingram Powell (RIP): Kelly, thanks so much for having me today on your blog! I love that your blog is kicking off my tour!

Your book title talks about parenting with passion. I think most parents would admit that many days they wake up less than enthusiastic about facing their middle schoolers. Where do you find your passion, and how do you keep it?

RIP: I think a lot of times we forget that while passion is an emotion, it is also very much a decision that we make. We have to choose to be passionate, even when the passionate feelings are absent! When it comes to parenting, I find that keeping my goals in mind makes the biggest difference. When my children were little, I came before the Lord requesting that He show me what my vision for them should be. The result was this prayer:

My vision for my children is that they become mature Christians: leading godly lives, holding the Bible as the standard by which all else is measured, capable of offering wise counsel to others, and totally accountable to God for their whole conduct and every thought.
My prayer is that each one chooses submission to the Lord over his or her selfish will and that they would enjoy abundant life through a close, personal relationship with the living Christ, loving Him with all of their hearts, minds, and souls. May these children be “pillars of the church, soldiers of the cross, and true servants of Jesus.” This I pray in that blessed, wonderful name of Jesus, Amen.

The quote slipped in there is from Luis Palau’s prayer for his sons. I find that keeping that vision in front of me gives the passion and purpose to my parenting. I’m not doing this for nothing! I have a goal in mind. The occasional bad day, bad attitude, or bad mouth cannot discount the importance of the matter at hand: raising my kids for Christ.

With all the changes facing Middle Schoolers, "Season of Change" is such an appropriate title. What is one of the most important issues facing middle schoolers today, and what can parents do to help them address this issue?

RIP: One of the most important issues our kids face is the same one that we did when we were growing up: self-image. Our kids do not understand who they are, largely due to the fact that they don’t understand who God is. Parents can address this issue by teaching their kids reverence.

Reverence is a word that is largely obsolete in today’s society. But reverence is a virtue that gives our children the foundation for the purpose of their being. What I mean by that is this: Understanding that there is an Almighty God who created humanity with purpose and privilege in mind gives us a great sense of worth and value! King Solomon said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” We have to start with God. When we give our children a right understanding of who He is and therefore, who they are, they understand:

They were created for God’s plan. He has a direction for their lives!
They were created for God’s purpose. He wants to use them to accomplish great things!
They were created for God’s pleasure. He not only loves them, but He LIKES them—pimples, frizzy hair, knobby knees, and all!

Your book promotes ideas that seem to be in contrast to the world, like modesty, reverence, accountability, and "Drastically Different Dating" (which is not dating by worldly standards, but protecting purity). How can we encourage our children to be different, when at this age they simply want to fit in, not stand out?

RIP: In many ways, Kelly, Christian parents should be encouraging their kids to be different from the beginning! Let me give you an example: Rich (my husband) and I have never celebrated Halloween. Our convictions have always been very firm in that. That decision was something that our families and many of our friends did not really understand. During Children’s Church one Sunday in October, when my daughter was in 1st grade, the class was making jack-o’-lanterns for their craft. Danya told the teacher that she knew her mom would not want her to participate. The teacher said, “Well, you’ll have to go sit down over there (away from the other children) because this is all I brought.” When Danya told me later that day what had happened, I replied: “Danya, I am so proud that you didn’t do something you knew I didn’t want you to do, even though I wasn’t there, and even though everyone else was doing it. I know that when you’re a teenager, if someone asks you to smoke a cigarette or drink a beer, you’ll say ‘no’ because you’ve learned how to be different.”

As Christians, we should be set apart. We should be different. The key to marketing different-ness to our middle schoolers is in making that “set apart-ness” risky, real, and relevant. I think that comes in active ministry. It comes in letting them see what a difference being different makes! Take them to the soup kitchens, the crisis pregnancy centers, and to juvenile court sometime. Let them see what “cool” looks like when it is undressed, so to speak. Show them the real consequences that people face when they make poor choices. You want to cultivate a heart of compassion while at the same time raising a spirit of determination to live God’s way and choose to be blessed.

Plus, I can’t say enough about praying for your kids. It’s critical to cover them in prayer—every day. Pray for God to work in their hearts. Ask Him for role models in people your kids know personally who are actively following Christ. Also, ask God if you are helping or hindering the “cool” aspect of Christianity. What does your own walk with Christ look like? Does it look like something your kids would be attracted to—a vital, vibrant relationship with the living Lord? Or does it look like being a Christian is something you’re only doing on Sunday and not worrying about the rest of the week? God has a way of revealing our true colors.

Kelly, thank you so much for getting this blog tour started!

Thank you for the honor, Rebecca. God bless you as you minister to families.
To purchase Rebecca's book, visit this link at Proverbs 31.
To purchase from (currently out of stock) click the book image to the right.
Follow Rebecca's blog tour - next blog stop (Tuesday) "To love, honor and vacuum."

Rebecca Ingram Powell is a pastor’s wife, homeschooling mother of three, and a nationally known author and speaker. She is the author of Baby Boot Camp: Basic Training for the First Six Weeks of Motherhood (for new and expectant moms), Wise Up! Experience the Power of Proverbs and Get Real! Embrace the Reality of Ruth (for teen girls), and Dig Deep: Unearthing the Treasures of Solomon's Proverbs (for teen guys), and her newest release, Season of Change: Parenting Your Middle Schooler with Passion and Purpose. Since 2003, Rebecca has been a monthly columnist for ParentLife magazine, writing the popular feature, "A Mom's Life." Her articles have appeared in HomeLife, BabyLife, and The P31 Woman, and other Christian publications as well as numerous websites including and